Gulf | Kuwait

Ban on school ‘nepotism’ reversed in Kuwait

Move was aimed at reducing favouritism, special treatment for staff’s children

  • By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief
  • Published: 11:51 August 21, 2013
  • Gulf News

Manama: Kuwait’s education minister said that his ministry accepted a court ruling that cancelled its decision not to allow students to attend schools where their parents were on the administrative or teaching staff.

“We respect the law and court sentences and we will cancel the decision to separate students and their parents in schools even though we do support its merits,” Nayef Al Hajraf said on Tuesday. “We will not hesitate to make any decision that serves the interests of our students and the education system.”

The ministry had fought a tense battle to keep its decision to avoid having students and their parents in the same school.

Scores of Kuwaitis have complained that students who had their parents in the same school often received preferential treatment from the administration and the teachers.

They said that teachers engaged in favouritism and tended to be more positive with the sons or daughters of their colleagues and friends.

However, when the ministry decided that either parents or students had to move to other schools to avoid conflict of interest, several Kuwaitis opposed the move and cited a series of challenges that would arise from the decision.

The campaign, supported by some media, targeted the ministry as acting against the interests of families, forcing parents or students to move out.

A court this week decided to annul the decision.

Launching and implementing reforms in the northern Arabian Gulf nation have often been resisted by strong social wishes to keep the status quo.

The labour and social affairs minister has come under fire after she announced plans to reform the labour market and reduce dependency on foreigners. Dhikra Al Rasheedi’s plans to have one million expatriates leave the country in ten years and boost the local labour market have been harshly criticised as “impossible to achieve”.

Around two-thirds of Kuwait’s total population of 3.3 million people are foreigners, mainly Asians in the construction and service sectors.

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